Keep an eye on Sabah, Locsin says as netizens press him on territory issues

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2019 12:22 PM | Updated as of Apr 20 2019 12:49 PM

MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin on Saturday said one should keep an eye on Sabah as some "jerks" are proposing that the Philippines "compromise" its historical claim on it.

Responding to a tweet that replied to his post where he explained that the West Philippine Sea is not Philippine territory but is part of its exclusive economic zone, Locsin said: "Save your prayers, we're doing all that can be done—for now. And later on with firmer commitment from abroad more."

"Also keep your eye on Sabah. Some jerks are proposing we compromise our historical claim to it with diplomatic moves of implicit surrender," he said in the tweet.

An 1878 agreement between the Sultanate of Sulu and the British North Borneo Chartered Co. covered only leasing the land and did not render Sabah part of Malaysia when it was formed into a federation in 1963, the Philippine government maintained as it staked its claim.

President Rodrigo Duterte, at the start of his presidency in 2016, said he would "stick with the original position of the government."

Malacañang last month underscored that the Philippines has a claim to Sabah after Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in an interview that the country has no claim to the territory in its southern region.

The Twitter exchange happened after the user told Locsin that he was "disappointed" at the top diplomat for saying "our own territory is just foods."

Locsin replied that it was "the idiot opposition" that equated Philippine territory "with clams and other eatables." He said the West Philippine Sea is part of the exclusive economic zone "under current UNCLOS which can change."

"Not me. I will not go down as 'the clam and coral guy'. That I leave to them," he said.

The foreign affairs chief also recently exchanged words with singer Regine Velasquez in the microblogging site over the former's remark on clams amid reports of mass harvesting by Chinese vessels near Scarborough Shoal.